Jerusalem (Nov. 4)
The French-Jewish financier, Claude Lipsky, wanted by France for alleged involvement in a major financial scandal, applied for an immigration visa today and put the Interior Ministry on the spot. Lipsky arrived here Sept. 29 after wanted bulletins were issued for him in France in connection with the collapse of his mutual fund investment firm. France has demanded his extradition but there is no extradition treaty in effect between France and Israel. Lipsky’s demand for immigrant status was described by Ministry sources as a “surprise move.”
Israel has been at pains lately to make it clear that the country is no haven for fugitives from justice even if they happen to be Jews. The Ministry has rejected a citizenship application by Meyer Lansky, the reputed rackets czar from the US. But Lipsky has no criminal record and legal circles said it was doubtful that the Interior Minister could exercise his discretion as in the case of Lansky.
It was hinted today that the Ministry might use halacha–religious law–to deny citizenship to Lipsky. Ministry sources said it was not clear whether he was a Jew according to halachic standards. Lipsky’s father was Jewish but his mother was said to have been a non-Jew. If his application is rejected on those grounds, the case would probably go before the Supreme Court which does not recognize halachic law as the exclusive basis on which a person’s Jewishness in relation to his right to immigrate can be determined.